It’s the middle of the afternoon and you start to have that heavy feeling. No this isn’t a 5 hour energy commercial, it’s your reality. Acute fatigue is a problem that faces many employees around the country and its costing companies thousands. According to government research, scientists estimate that fatigue-related employee productivity losses cost companies $1967/employee annually. So what can you do to help your employees sleep better (hint: it’s a part of wellness in the workplace)?
It is a known fact that those who regularly exercise, sleep better. In a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, people who do not engage in daily exercise reported more trouble staying awake and lower quality sleep than those who had workout routines. “If you are inactive, adding a 10 minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep,” suggests Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D.
Many companies are turning to wellness programs to promote healthier routines. While some programs just throw money at their employees to be used for fitness activities, programs that reward participation have proven to be the most effective in promoting employee productivity. Constant rewards help form a regular workout routine that can result in better sleep. Keeping your employees well rested can be as easy as providing financial incentives, such as gym reimbursements, to make them join a gym.
Tracking your sleep and fitness can lead to great results. Not only does tracking fitness make us aware of our habits, but sleep trackers now include suggestions for how to improve your sleep hygiene. Withings, a popular tracker, reported in a study that many of its users feel more fatigued when they snooze their alarms. To combat this, Withings includes a smart alarm: you tracker will wake you up when you’re sleeping lightly. No more struggling to wake up from a deep dream! They also noticed that users with more steps, snoozed their alarms less. Being active, as we mentioned before, leads to better sleep habits.
Sleeping on the job
You heard right! While encouraging healthy activity is a great way to improve sleep hygiene at home, sometimes it’s not enough. Employees lives are complicated, and no matter how healthy they are, they might still not get the rest they need at home. This is why some employers are encouraging employees to take a short nap during the work day. As Dr. Ron Friedman notes, “Particularly in American culture, we like to believe that productivity is a function of effort, and that if we work hard we’ll produce…But the reality is that we have a biological need for rest no different or less important than our need for food or water.” Set up a quiet room where employees can schedule and take short naps. You’ll notice that their productivity, happiness, and health all increase.